Template Manager Powertoy for OneNote 2007


    We're halfway through the "Week of OneNote Powertoys!"  Remember: these addins make great stocking stuffers...


    Again, Jeff Cardon has created an incredibly useful addin for OneNote 2007.  His template manager lets you create and apply templates to notebooks.  This has proved very useful for people who design a notebook for (let's say) "New Employee Orientation," adds a company logo to the template for the notebook and is then told to change the old logo to new.  It's templates are treated separately from OneNote's templates.


    This is a powerful enough addin that I can't sum up it's functionality much more than that.  Instead, I'll just give you the links to the setup files (standard setup rules apply:  install as admin, run setup.exe, install for all users) and paste in the contents of the readme.


    The link to the download (as of 3/10/2009) has moved to just below my signature at the end of this article.



    Here is the user guide (also added to the zip file below) to give you an idea of how this addin works:


    Template Manager for OneNote 2007

    Template manager is a tool that enables the creation or personalization of customized templates. You can create templates with company logos, or templates that contain text, tables, ink, charts or any other type of OneNote content that can be applied directly to a page, section or notebook. Here's how it works:


    · Exit OneNote and run Setup.msi to install the tool for OneNote 2007.

    · Follow the prompts in the Installation wizard.

    · Run OneNote and click on the following button located in the Standard toolbar:



    The Templates tab is used for template organization. Here you can apply, edit, change properties, or delete a template.


    Apply template to:

    To apply a template, choose the scope for which you wish to apply the template.

    · Page:

    · This page: applies the selected template to the current page in OneNote.

    · New page: creates a new page in the current section and applies the selected template.

    · Selected pages: applies the selected template to all selected pages in the current section.


    · This section: applies the selected section to all pages in the current section in OneNote.

    · Section group:

    · This section group: applies the selected template to all pages in the current section group in OneNote.

    · Notebook

    · This notebook: applies the selected template to all pages in the current notebook in OneNote.


    Executes the application of the selected template to the selected scope in OneNote.


    Deletes the selected template.


    Allows you to make changes to the selected template.


    Allows you to change the properties of the template:

    · Template name

    · Template description

    New Template:

    This feature allows you to create a new customized template in OneNote. You can create a new template based on existing content on the current page, or you can create a template from scratch.


    Use the Name field to enter a name for your template. For example, if you're creating a template to represent your company's logo, you might name the template 'Company logo'.

    New template from current page:

    This feature allows you to create a template based on existing content on a page. For example, you might apply one of the internal OneNote templates (Format | Templates) and decide that you like the overall design, but want to make a minor change. Go ahead and make the desired changes and when you run the New Template wizard, check the 'New template from current page' checkbox. Then follow the remaining prompts to complete the creation of the new template.



    Use the Description field to enter a descriptive name for this template. For example, you might enter something like the following: "Template with the company's blue logo in the top-left corner of the page" to descripbe the general look of the template.


    Template designer:

    Once you've given your template a name and description, OneNote will open to the Template Designer. This page is a temporary page where you can begin designing your template by adding pictures, formatted text, tables, or any other OneNote content. After you've completed designing your template, click the Finish button in the New Template wizard. The Template Designer will be closed and you're new template will then be visible and available to apply from the Templates tab.



    Questions, comments, concerns and criticism always welcome,

    John Guin



Comments (66)
  1. Matias says:

    Great I will take a look, I been doing this making a new book with reference to the folder that I have the templates, then I edit them i that book, and everyting changes in the template window. the folder is C:Users<user>AppDataRoamingMicrosofttemplates.

  2. JohnGuin says:

    Keep in mind a limitation of this tool is that it will not work with existing templates – OneNote stores them differently than this manager.


  3. Matias says:

    yep I know, I’m also work with my templates only.

    One thing that I tought that your manager will do is add the posibility to make groups in the template window. I do that with sections in the book that I opened. So I have all the templates grouped by theme. Hope you find a way to implement that in the template manager plugin. Regards

  4. I’ve heard from quite a few people already via email and comments and seen indirectly some great feedback

  5. Steve says:

    Great work! This is really helpful.

  6. sfb says:

    Excellent tool! Where are the created templates stored? I’d like to sync them between machines if possible. Thanks.

  7. archiwiz says:

    Hi, is this powertoy available to all OneNote users? Because even after downloading and installing it, the icon isn’t appearing in the toolbar, or in ‘All commands’ to customize the toolbar.

  8. JohnGuin says:

    Do you have OneNote 2007?  It won’t work with ON 2003.

    I suggest uninstalling it and reinstalling it if you have OneNote 2007.  Uninstall it via the control panel, then restart Windows.

    Also, be sure to run the setup.exe (and not the MSI) as an administrator.  RIght click setup.exe to see the "run as administrator" option.

    I hope some of this helps,


  9. archiwiz says:

    Thank you John. It worked. Now if only I can make templates out of engineering paper. Trust me, I’ve tried, and I’ve searched. This is something that should be in OneNote 2007 template downloads section.

  10. JohnGuin says:

    Can you point to a sample image of the engineering paper you use?


  11. archiwiz says:

    Here’s a sample – http://www.utdallas.edu/~cantrell/ee2310/epaper.gif. Its a required type of paper for engineering students for homework and things like that. A workaround was proposed through Journal, by scanning the paper and setting it as a background to fill the page, and inking directly fromthere (this works) but since all my lecture notes are in OneNote, it makes sense that I should have my homework there as well. BTW, thanks for your quick responses John. Its nice to know on’s being heard (or read in this case :))

  12. JohnGuin says:

    Here’s what I did.

    1. Opened the link to GIF.

    2. Pasted it into mspaint

    3. Saved as BMP

    4. Copied it to the clipboard

    5. Pasted it onto a OneNote page

    6. Sized it for my screen

    7. Saved it as a backgound image.

    Seems to work fine now.  The tricky part was converting the GIF to BMP.  Now I can save this page as a template and make it the default for this notebook.

    I may be overlooking something here with what you want, though.


  13. archiwiz says:

    The problem is @ #6. In resizing, the paper keeps stretching & stretching. I should upload a Journal image to show you what I mean. BRB.

  14. Daryl says:

    I’m very excited about this add-in but I’m having some trouble with error messages. For example:

    New template tab> [type name] > Next > [type description] > Next > Next > Error message:

    "Unable to determine the active OneNote page. Check to ensure OneNote is currently running, and then try again."

    Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

  15. JohnGuin says:

    Are you using OneNote 2007 or 2003?  This requires 2007.  Any other information may help, too.  Which version of windows, where the notebook you have open resides (local drive, server, etc…), and any other information you may find relevant.


  16. Daryl says:

    I’m using OneNote 2007, Windows Vista Ultimate, and I’ve just installed Office 2007 SP1. The notebook I’m using is on a local drive on my Tablet PC.

    Rather than cluttering your comments page with the exception text, I’ll send it by email.

  17. ben says:

    hey this looks fantastic…. and opening the sample template works fine(wavy blue).

    when i try to create a new template it allows me to create a name & description but then after clicking next throws an error and dies.

    I tried reboot, uninstall and reinstall, but same issue.

    I wont show it all as its really long but let me know if you need more info


    See the end of this message for details on invoking

    just-in-time (JIT) debugging instead of this dialog box.

    ************** Exception Text **************

    System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

      at start.MainForm.CreateNewSection()

      at start.MainForm.CreateNewPage(Boolean tempSection, Boolean title)

      at start.MainForm.Wizard(Int32 step)

      at start.MainForm.nextBttn_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)

      at System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnClick(EventArgs e)

      at System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnClick(EventArgs e)


  18. ben says:

    sorry thats on one note 2007, win xp sp2 standard desktop. current notebooks saved locally.

  19. JohnGuin says:

    Thanks for the report.  Jeff and I are looking into this – sorry for the problems.  If you want, send me detailed steps you are taking to reproduce the problem.  johnguin at hotmail.

    Sorry for the problems,


  20. dcw says:

    I created several templates with Template Manager/Designer.

    I applied one custom template to a page and them applied a different one and it applied it on top of instead of replacing the first custom template.  

    Then I closed the Manager and started again with a clean page. This time when I applied the second template it did replace the first one.

    Any idea what happened the first time?

    I applied a template from the Templates provided in OneNote. I applied one custom template to a page, it still shows the office template. It did not replace it.

    Is there a way to override that? Or is there a way to change the office template on an existing page to a different office template or customized one without having to create ‘new page’?


  21. JeffCar says:

    This happens because the Template Manager only knows about templates that _it_ generates.  In other words, if you apply a template from one of the ones provided by OneNote, the Tamplate Manager does not know about it and cannot replace any of the existing content.

    We had to do this because, unfortunately, there are not any differentiating qualities that can be used to determine where the existing content on a page came from.  We could try and guess where it came from, but if a picture was added by you, for example,  and the Template Manager were to replace it, then we’ve guessed wrong and just deleted your content – that’s why we don’t replace it.

    The best way to use the Template Manager if you’re going to use it to replace content, is to start from a blank page.  Then we know exactly what content was added by the Template Manager.



  22. morgan says:

    i am having the exact same problem as ben with onenote 2007 vista premium. i can apply the blue wave template with no problems but when i try to create my own i get that same error. i also uninstalled and reinstalled and rebooted.

  23. Sandilya says:

    Hi there,

    This power toy looks interesting.

    I have how ever a strange requirement. I use OneNote a lot of general notes and for journaling. I have also adapted OneNote for my GTD system. One of the key actions I do is "Create linked page". Firstly when I do that I’d like to create the page in a specific section. For instance, when I make a note about starting a project, I’d like a page with a project template to be created. Im willing to use a different short cut of course.

    Another that I would be willing to do is, have the template change the moment I move a page to a particular section. for instance, create a new page in the current section in the current section template, but change to the Projects template when it is moved to the Projects section.

    Not sure if this is a feature that can come in a powertoy. If there is something out there that will help with this, I’d much appreciate an answer.

    Thank you.

  24. JohnGuin says:

    It looks like for the first request, you could have a button that, when clicked, creates 2 (or more) pages in predefined locations.  Is this correct?

    And for the second, you want to apply a template to an existing page, correct?


  25. Dan says:

    I like this powertoy, but I really have a few issues that I need to resolve.  What I’m trying to do is this, I want to be able to setup a notebook with dividers where each divider has it’s own default template.  Such that if you go and click on "new page" under that divider, you’ll get a copy of the template that you can then write on.  You can pretty easily do this under the default templates of OneNote, but my issue is this…I need to be able to create this on about 150 tablets.  As you can imagine, I don’t really want to manually do this 150 times.  I am able to create the notebooks and install them easily enough, but even if I copy over the template files, they wont be linked to the notebook.  This means I have to go to every page and tell it to use the current page as a template, and to use that template for that section.

    So I am messing around with your powertoy, but I don’t see any way to do what I’m looking to do with this either.  Is there any way you can copy a notebook, templates, and the linkings between them using either the stock OneNote templates, or this powertoy?

  26. JohnGuin says:

    By divider, you mean section, right?

    And I understand the frustration of having to install templates on every machine.  It’s annoying enough just to do it on two machines for myself (of which each gets wiped and recreated weekly – the joy of testing).

    I’ll add this to the list of powertoys as "some way to roam or otherwise deploy templates."



  27. Dan says:

    Yes, sections….

    I just can’t figure out how to copy over the "link" between the workbook and the templates that are setup as defaults for that section.  There has got to be some file somewhere that houses that information…

  28. About a week ago, Shu updated his OneNote Favorites addin to support themed controls. In short, themed

  29. JohnGuin says:

    Say Dan,

    The files that hold that information are marked hidden and read only at these locations:

    XP: C:Documents and Settings<User Name>Application DataOneNote Template ManagerTemplates

    Vista: C:Users<User Name>AppDataRoaming OneNote Template ManagerTemplates


  30. Christian says:

    Hi there,

    it looks like I’m getting the same error as ben:

    The first error message is "Unable to determin the active OneNote page. Check to ensure OneNote is currently running, and then try again." though OneNote is already running.

    After confirming this message with OK there is another error (originally this message was put out in German language):

    "Exception from HRESULT: 0x80042001".

    At details section there is (in German language too):

    ************** Ausnahmetext **************

    System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x80042001): Ausnahme von HRESULT: 0x80042001

      bei Microsoft.Office.Interop.OneNote.ApplicationClass.UpdateHierarchy(String bstrChangesXmlIn)

      bei start.MainForm.CreateNewSection()

      bei start.MainForm.CreateNewPage(Boolean tempSection, Boolean title)

      bei start.MainForm.Wizard(Int32 step)

      bei start.MainForm.nextBttn_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnClick(EventArgs e)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnClick(EventArgs e)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mevent)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmMouseUp(Message& m, MouseButtons button, Int32 clicks)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.ButtonBase.WndProc(Message& m)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Button.WndProc(Message& m)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.OnMessage(Message& m)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)

      bei System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

    Any ideas how to get this great powertoy working?

    I’m on XP SP 2 German version (!) and OneNote 2007 English version.



  31. Ali Husain says:

    Great Powertoy! I have created a notebook template that works very well. When I open a new notebook it is listed among the other templates included with onenote. Is there any way of making it the default template?

  32. Jeff Cardon says:

    Sorry, this power toy will not work with the default OneNote templates.

  33. Tina says:

    Hi! I was able to successfully install Template Manager. Unfortunately, when I click on the Template Manager icon in the One Note toolbar, nothing happens. Is there anything else that I need?

    I’m running OneNote 2007 on an XP SP3 machine

  34. John Guin says:

    Can you check to see if ".NET Programmability Support" was installed with OneNote?  In control panel, open "Programs" or "Add/Remove Programs," then choose Office or OneNote.  Select to add or remove features, then look under the OneNote branch of the tree.  Ensure the .Net Programmability Support is turned on – it is off by default.



  35. Tina says:

    Alright, that solved it. Thanks a bunch!

    Great job, btw! 🙂

  36. Andy Bryant says:

    I was hoping this would solve my default template problem, but from the description – it won’t.

    I’m trying to turn off lined pages – and to use a new template – blank page as my default template for new sections – however whenever I create a new section, it turns up with lines on.

    Any suggestions?

  37. JohnGuin says:

    Check the File | Page Setup option to see if the checkbox for showing rule lines is ON.

    I’ll also pass this on to Jeff.  Rule Line state is expected to be stored with his template manager.

    Thanks for the feedback,


  38. Corley says:

    Hi, When I create a template by adding a picture on the top left corner, it always show a whit border. Is there any way to avoid this knowing the page is in auto mode (in the page setup)

  39. Doug says:

    Added this yesterday and spent most of night trying to get it to work. Gave up this morning and removed it. Might be useful if you have never added onenote templates but if you have this does nothing.

  40. JohnGuin says:

    Hi Doug,

    Yes, this tool does not use the existing templates.  It has to create its own and stores them in a separate XML.  Sorry to hear it was so frustrating.


  41. Susan says:


    Back in April, a gentleman named Dan inquired about creating a Template Notebook with Sections that have their own Template.  Basically, I need this.  I would call it an electronic binder (notebook) with dividers (sections) and pages (pages) with each divider (section).  I am a Project Manager and work on projects that have the same functions, same tasks, etc.  I need to create a Custom Notebook Template that I can copy each time I start a project.  It would be to time consuming to recreate each time.  As I was reading through this blog, I don’t think I saw an answer.  Is this possible?  If so, how?  Thanks for your help!

  42. JohnGuin says:

    Can you create the notebook and then save it a as a package file ( .onepkg)?  That is done with the save dialog.

    Then when you double click the .onepkg file, you will get prompted for where you want the ntoebook created.  In short, OneNote will "unpack" the notebook from the package file and re-create the contents.  Each time you open it, you can create a new notebook.

    That sounds like it would work for you.  Let me know if it does not.


  43. Susan says:

    Thanks John!  I will try that.  I appreciate your help!!!

  44. Kevin says:


    The zip file won’t download and I’ve tried over 2 days (from both work and home). Is there an alternative location to get it from? I’d really like to try it. 🙂



  45. Kevin says:

    It looks like you changed the location and it downloads now. 🙂



  46. Tim says:

    nice attempt but it doesn’t work – at least for my purpose.

    i wanted something that would apply a template that is completely BLANK – ie. NO TITLE with it’s ugly date.

    I created the blank template and it wouldn’t apply it to anything at all. Even tho it would apply other templates.

    I wish there was a way of applying a template to a whole notebook. seems rediculous there isn’t. i spend my whole day applying templates lol!

  47. LeeMooreNC says:

    Hi John,

    A newbe here.

    I downloaded the template manager zip file. I exited onenote and and ran the install. Started onenote but the icon is not on the toolbar. I went to add buttons to standard toolbar and Template Manager is listed along with a checked box BUT it is greyed out. Uninstalling and reinstalling resulted in the same thing. Any ideas on how to fix would be appreciated.

    XP Professional sp3

    OneNote 2007



  48. LeeMooreNC says:


    It seems to be working now. I changed the toolbar to two line and the icon showed up. Changed back to one line and icon remained. It’s still greyed out but seems to be working.



  49. Lee says:

    I was trying to use this to change the default template for any new page in a notebook I already have. I followed the instructions….

    BUT – it overwrote EVERY page title with a blank title. Further, it deleted a lot of content from my pages. I dont know why it did this, but *luckily* i had a backup from a couple of days ago. So now I just need to spend a whole day re-entering the information.

    I appreciate the efforts you make in putting this up here, but if it has the potential to delete existing content, there should be a lot more warning.

  50. JohnGuin says:

    Ouch – can you email me a step by step account of what you did, and if possible, a .ONE file that I can use to reproduce the problem?

    Extremely sorry and embarassed – there should be no data loss.


  51. I’m really interested to see that you don’t just use cutting edge hardware, but that you run on all sorts of odd mismatched stuff – just like the real world. Nice post – and very interesting to see inside the process.

  52. Bio Prof says:

    I love OneNote and the Template Manager is a dream…I’ve lost count of how many templates I use.  Unfortunately I occasionally lose my template manager window too!  I use dual display at work and only notebook display at home.  If I forget to move the template manager to the main notebook display before I leave, the manager window does not appear!  I’m assuming that if I had a 2nd monitor it would there.  Any way to avoid this?  I can "find" other lost windows, but they are located in the task bar.  I see the template manager in the processes tab…but it’s not on the display.  Any way to avoid this?  

    Thanks for a great tool.

  53. John says:

    Hmm… this is a good test case.  I assume exiting and restarting OneNote will allow the window to be restored on the notebook monitor properly?

  54. Bio Prof says:

    Hi John – Nope, I close down the notebook completely at work and reboot to open it when I get home.  It still does not show up.      I should add that I use a little program called something like "multi-mon" that gives me a task bar on the 2ndary monitor when I use it.  I don’t remember if I had this particular problem before I started using this little app (which is quite sweet).  Thanks for a wonderful app, this irritation is nothing compared to the stuff I can do w/the template manager.

  55. Danny B. says:

    Hi John,

    I have been enjoying template manager for over a year – until I arrived back from vacation to find that it has stopped working.

    I started Onenote and the icon is present on the toolbar.  When I click on the icon it fades and the template manager does not open.  I tried repairing the installation to no avail.  I tried rebooting the computer, still no change.

    The drop-down "Add-Remove Buttons/Standard" displays the checked Template Manager listing as faded and gray.

    Any ideas on how to fix would be appreciated.

    Vista Ultimate, SP1

    OneNote 2007



  56. John says:

    Hello Danny,

    Can you exit OneNote completely (either make sure Task Manager shows OneNote is not running or simply reboot), then uninstall the template manager.  Then reinstall.  Be sure not to start OneNote until the reinstall is done.

    If this does not work, let me know.

    Sorry for the errors.

  57. Danny says:

    Hi John,

    The simplest (?) fix to this problem was to reload the OS (now Windows 7!).  I think that the problem was with the OS installation and not Office or Template Manager.

    Everything seems back to normal.  I was able to find all of my existing templates without the need to re-create.

    Thanks for your great tool,


  58. Chris says:

    I have the same requirement as Dan where i need to deploy the template to everyone that downlaods it from sharepoint,when they click the new page it should use the template,but alas cant find anything on the net,any news on the powertoy for that?

  59. Inica Gungho says:

    Hi John,

    When I try to export a ppt file and have both "Add Slide Text" and "Add Notes Page Text" unchecked, I get an error message that reads: "Error: Exception from HRESULT: 0x80042001."  But, when I have the one or two of the boxes checked, it transfers the ppt just fine into OneNote.  The only thing is that it’ll transfer both the slide and repeat the text in the slide onto another column. I then have to go back and delete that extra information.  Is there any way around this?  I am using Windows 7, OneNote 2007.  Thanks for your help.  

  60. Larry says:

    I downloaded this tool and everything worked fine but it doesn’t seem to do what I thought it would. I want to be able to create a template for an entire multi-page Section such that each time I create a new Section, I get all the pages from the template. Is there a way to do that?

  61. David says:

    Come on guys! Where is the OneNote 2010 version of Template Manager? I've downloaded the Text Importer for 2007  and make a couple of quick changes John recommended in another post and got it working for OneNote 2010 on the 1st try, so doing the same for Template Manager (I assume) should be no different.

  62. David says:

    Come on guys! Where is the OneNote 2010 version of Template Manager? I've downloaded the Text Importer for 2007  and make a couple of quick changes John recommended in another post and got it working for OneNote 2010 on the 1st try, so doing the same for Template Manager (I assume) should be no different.

  63. David says:

    Come on guys! Where is the OneNote 2010 version of Template Manager? I've downloaded the Text Importer for 2007  and make a couple of quick changes John recommended in another post and got it working for OneNote 2010 on the 1st try, so doing the same for Template Manager (I assume) should be no different.

  64. Tammi says:

    I was able to successfully install the Template Manager and the button appears when running OneNote. However, once I click on the Template Manager button, it grays out and does nothing. I've tried re-booting, un-installing and re-installing, as well as disabling and enabling add-ins, but it still doesn't work.

  65. JohnGuin says:

    Tammi, sorry for the problems.  Can you try this?

    1. Uninstall the addin

    2. restart windows

    3. Make sure OneNote is not running

    4. Reinstall – you may want to right click the setup and "Run as administrator"

    Let me know if this works,


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